tv Charlie Rose WHUT August 31, 2009 11:00pm-12:00am EDT
test test test. >> rose: welcome to the broadcast. tonight we continue our vacation schedule with a look back at people who've come to our table in the last year to talk about their work and their life. we call it "movie stars." genuine movie stars. they are leonardo dicaprio. >> everything seemed more real. the guys in the uniforms, the snow on the field, the trees, and all of us... all of us just walking. i mean, i was scared, of course, but i just kept thinking this is it, you know? this is the truth. >> rose: brad pitt. >> i finally caught up with you,
charlie. >> wait. i want to remember us just as we are now. >>. >> rose: and george clooney. >> what do you need, karen, lay it on me? you want a carry permit? you want a heads up on an insider training subpoena? i sold out arthur for 80 grand and a three-year contract and you're going to kill me. >> rose: and hour of real movie stars, next.
captioning sponsored by rose communications from our studios in new york city, this is charlie rose. >> rose: joining me now, kate winslet and leonardo dicaprio. 11 years ago they started together in james cameron's blockbuster "tynan nick." that film grossed more than $1.billion. since then, they have earned a combined eight oscar nominations. now these two friends reunite in "revolutionary road." it's directed by sam mendes, kate's husband. i am pleased to have leonardo dicaprio and kate winslet back at this table. welcome. >> thank you, sir, for having us. >> thank you very much. >> rose: why did it take 11 years for you two to get back together? >> well, it was one of the first things about the screenplay which i immediately said why i really cannot wait to do those sequences with kate. because when you develop a sort of... you know, friendship with somebody over the years, there's just a trust factor there. we both know that we have the best intentions for each other,
but we also know that we can sort of push each other's limits. and there's probably no other actress out there that i would feel as comfortable sort of attacking and i know she could give every bit of it right back to me. so it's a... i kept saying during the production of the film "i can't wait for these sequences." and so much of the movie was about what was left unsaid between two people. and sam really set this movie up like a stage play. almost like... we were kind of living these people's lives out. i don't know, that was great release, so to speak. >> and for me... you know, just to continue with that thought, you know, for me as an actress working alongside my wonderful friend over there.... >> rose: who wants to test your limits. >> but it was some of the most exciting acting i've ever seen in my life. it really, really was. and being there for leo in the off camera during those very difficult heightened emotional scenes during the two of us, it was difficult for me not to cry just because it was really upsetting for me to see him go
to that place and to be so moved by what he was doing and also to see him literally do things with his face and as an actor that i have never seen him do before in any of his performances or as a human being. and i remember saying.... >> rose: wow! >> i said "seriously, you did things with your face that you've honestly never done before and i'm very freaked out and have to go sit down." but it was exciting for us just to explore the endless possibilities. and, you know, i think that's why it's easy for us to talk about. >> rose: does what she's saying resonate with you? >> i have to be honest and say i never know. i just... i think we both share the same sort of need to do a good job. we want to do the best... give the best possible performances that we can. we work very hard at what we do. but whatever suspends that disbelief for an audience, whatever makes an audience member feel like, oh, i believe that, and all those factors that
are involved, i have... i'm still yet to figure out. because that formula is something that is intangible. you never quite know what will be off putting towards people. and i've never really discovered that. you just look for the best possible.... >> rose: but is part of the goal you're reaching for is to make the character believable? >> absolutely, yeah. >> rose: they see nothing but the character. >> well, all you essentially do... all the research that you do beforehand, all the conversations that you have, all the rehearsal, all the thinking about the changing of the lines, all this stuff is, you know, a desire to find some sort of emotional truth within that character. and that's all you consistently do 24 hours a day when you're working. i mean, that's it. so it's sort of... like i said, it's a formula that i don't think anyone truly understands. because when i see a movie, there could be one of 2,000 factors that make me say "oh, i'm watching a movie."
i don't have that suspension of disbelief. i can't sit there for two hours and say i can't forget that element of that film. and it could be a piece of set decoration, it could be a piece of terrible acting, terrible directing. you know, it could be a combination of anything. or the storyline as a whole or what one character does. who knows. that's what we're constantly attempting to do as actors or people in this industry, is to try to find that one little gem where that chemistry is right. >> rose: you know you can push her to her limits. what does that mean? >> again, i have no idea. (laughter) >> rose: you just know you enjoy it and it makes you better. >> people use that term short hand, is there a short hand between you two people or do you guys... what it is is the ability to know that i'm not going to insult this person if i tell them the truth. if we talk about the material and i say "this scene sucks," i'm not going to insult her. or "you weren't that great in conveying what i think you were
trying to convey. or you were." >> rose: you are or you're not going to? >> we're able to do that. we can take advantage of that friendship. we really took advantage of the fact that we know each other on such a... for such a long period of time, we know we have the best intentions for each other. we took advantage of that. >> rose: here's the sense i have you don't do this often. we asked frequently. i assume that you choose to do it when there's material that you feel special about and that you like a lot and you want more people to know about. >> that could be the case. that could be the case, yes. but my attitude towards publicity in general has always been very bizarre. i've never quite... to me, you know, i have heroes. i have great heroes from the past that i felt always retained a level of mystery about their life. and that for me was all thrown out the window when i did t film "titanic." so when i did that movie i realized it was never quite the
same. and i think that it's fundamentally truly important for an actor to be able to... like i was talking earlier, to suspend that disbelief. if you know way too many things intimately about a specific human being, they're not able to convey those characters realistically to an audience. you feel like, oh, that's not him, he's just acting, they're nothing like that. so, yes, i feel like i... when there is specific material that i feel deserves this type of forum, i do seize those moments. so you're right. >> couric: what is it you most want us to know about frank? >> what i love about frank is so often in this this industry, like i was saying earlier, you're given characters that have some heroic element to them something that defies the odds and this is somebody that is, like i said, a product of their
environment. and just is a simple man. you know what i mean? he's a simple man who wants a simple life at the end of the day and wants to be told that he's a good husband. and i found it immediately... i related to him immediately, i really did. i related to his angst immediately. it's hard for me to identify more with the characters that do defy the odds, the heroic people that risk their lifetime and time again to... with some vigila pursuit of justice. this is a man that just trying to make things work. >> rose: why is it harder and harder to identify with the heroics? because you... what? >> because i lead a life nowhere near that, my friend. i mean, i go to these sets and i get jobs and i research characters and i get paid money to be an actor. so, you know, it's... i mean, there's obviously sometimes where you do just have an emotional connection to somebody even if yr life is nothing like him. i remember sitting here talking with you about "the aviator" and
howard hughes and i.... >> rose: larger than life. >> that was one of those characters in my life where i felt like i need to... i felt the connection with the man. i felt that i needed to put this guy's life up on screen and it was something that took eight years to sort of hone and get right. and those are... but those things come few and far between. and they come... they're less and less... those possibilities are less and less, i think, in today's age of cinema. i really... it's hard to make movies like that, it really is. >> rose: well, then that sort of relates to my question about how do you see material like this? >> not often. not often at all. and i think there's going to be a wider gap between the sort of independent genre of film making and the big budget sort of spectacle movies and the movies that are a hybrid of those two things that have, you know, real powerful emotional or deep content in them that are also... have some scope are going to kind of dissolve away.
i see that happening more and more in the industry. it's either like this is a regurgitation of films you've seen a thousand times that work and are sound for the studios and this is what we're making or you could take a chance and do a really low budget small movie and see how it turns out. >> rose: and that's the gap between either things? small budget films and see how it turns out or spectacular but nowhere in between in which you are enhancing... a story that's worth telling. >> those types of movies are becoming few and far between, yes. >> rose: is it possible that you could take more risks in whatever way, back to even frank's character, to see that you, because of whatever leverage and resource you have to make those kind of movies? >> that's what i'm trying to do. (laughs) >> rose: you are. and how do you try to do it? >> how do i try to do it? >> looking for property? looking for... >> everything at the end of the day when you're making a movie starts with the material and how well written the script is.
i've never seen a silk purse made from a sow's here. i've never seen it happen wherein a crap script with crap characters a director somehow found a way to make a masterpiece out of it. that's the constant struggle that we all sort of have as actors is finding those gems. and that's why people grab on to them like vultures. when you find a great piece of material or great script, it's like you should see what happens it's like a piranha feeding fest. >> rose: (laughs) >> everyone wants it. >> rose: are you... well, what why, then, did it take 11 years to make this movie? >> you know, it wasn't a huge... although this was a cult novel and way ahead of its time, it wasn't one of those best-sellers. it was kind of those things a small group of people knew how special this novel was and, you know, thank god the people that were involved in owning material waited. >> rose: okay. but just help me understand. how many of these in which if the world... smart people like you knew about would be like piranhas trying to get to it? are there four or five pieces
out there like that? do you have a... >> i'm looking for one right now. >> rose: looking for one? >> actively looking for a good piece of material. >> rose: interesting. with all that you have in a sense of clout, you're looking for an interesting piece of material. >> absolutely. absolutely. and i think a lot of people will tell you the same thing. >> rose: i'm sure they would. they do. >> it's very difficult. i mean, i could go on and on about it but it's just the simple truth. look at how many films have been done. look at how many subjects have been taken on. you know, hopefully as we progress into the future we'll see cinema sort of take different turns and i'm curious to see where it goes. but, you know, it's up to these sort of revolutionary new filmmakers and people coming up with new concepts and ideas and that's what we're constantly waiting for. but also it is a business at the end of the day and studios will not finance certain projects. i mean, they'll take low risk with low budget films and say "okay, this is a dark piece of
material that not many people will go see. here's a few million dollars, go make that." >> rose: we know that the ceiling it can reach is $30 million, $40 million. >> but maybe we'll get an oscar buzz and more people will see it we'll make more money, get a little prestige. but i feel like i've seen less and less of those sort of bigger budget films that actually have a tremendous amount of depth dissipate. that's what i've seen, anyway. >> rose: has acting turned out to be all that upped it to be? >> um, it's incredible. it's incredible. you know, i... i never knew that i could do it as a career. i never knew... it was the first memory that i had, it was the first thing i could think of is saying "i want to be an actor" to my parents. and if i hadn't lived in los angeles and been in such close proximity to sort of the mecca of movie making, if i didn't have parents that said "okay, with eel drive you to auditions
sh..." we didn't have the economic means to move camp from idaho to los angeles because some snotty 10-year-old kid says "i want to be an actor." after school i got go on auditions. i've said this before, i felt like an elite group of people and i felt like i would never belong to them. so once i got the opportunity to for example, get the movie "this boy's life" with robert de niro, i said wow, now i'm able to... i might be able to steer the course of my career. i might be able to have a career similar to these guys that i'm... i so admire. and that i knew at 15 years old was the biggest gift in the world and that's never left me. i've never... that thirst or that hunger for wanting to give one great performance that i'm truly satisfied with or being one movie that i said "i love this film" is something that i don't know will ever be quenched. i don't know. and i think that's a good thing because it keeps pushing you,
you know? you're constantly dissatisfied, in other words. >> rose: have you found it yet? in other words, do you have to live with the idea that it's not quite what i dream of doing. not acting, but finding that performance, that character, that story. in other words, you won't keep reaching for it if you think you found it. >> well, it's only in hind sight really. i mean, you can't really appreciate anything you've ever done or any movie you've ever been in for a minimum five years because you're so attached to what it was like making the movie that you can't look at it from a subjective... from a different perspective. so i don't know. you know, i don't know. but i do know that i still have that desire to make great movies. >> rose: you know, you are sitting here because you had parents who lived in l.a. who were willing to make some sacrifice who cared about you having a chance to pursue your dreams. but if you had grown up somewhere else with different
kind of parents you might not be sitting here as leo dicaprio, one of the world's best-known actors, right? >> that and a combination with the fact that you have that one lucky moment. and that you can't discount. i mean, no matter... i don't care what anybody says. whether somebody has talent or not, if you don't get that one opportunity and you're not there at the right time to seize it and you didn't go for it, none of it would happen. i would not have the career i would have right now whatsoever i don't think. it's all about a showcase or that ability to do that one thing that says "o.k., now we'll allow you to do more movies. that's it. >> rose: was that "titanic" or something else? >> i think that was either "this boy's life" or "gilbert grape." >> rose: yeah, "gilbert grape, right." >> i would have been very, very happy continuing doing television work. i would have loved it. you know? i would have been doing commercials and sitcoms. it would have been fine.
i mean doing some theater. i was ecstatic to be an actor period. i was finally saying wow, this... i can do this for a living, i don't need to have some other vocation and do this on the side. and that, you know, growing up in this industry i know what a very special gift that is because there's a lot of people that would love to be working actors and unfortunately aren't. and that's the bottom line for me, what i'm most happy with. this is all the... all this is the whipped cream and the walnuts and the cherry on the cake. being able to choose your roles, all this stuff is like beyond. it really is. >> rose: but when "gilbert grape" happened, did you see it "this is my opportunity? this is my option. i have to be there for this because this could make the difference in the world" or did you simply say "man, this is a great role, i'm going to give it all i have." >> it's funny you bring that up because i... you know, i don't want to do any big sob story about how i grew up and the financial background that i had. but to finally have an
opportunity after "this boy's life" that first movie that i did, there was another movie wherein i got offered more money than i could have ever imagined and i was about to say yes to it. but there was actually something... and i'm kind of surprised in hindsight looking back as a 1, 17-year-old saying, wait a minute, this there's the this role here that is substantially less money but i knew-- and that all came from having watched this... these great movies in the past, that i knew i wanted to strive for doing something better. and i don't know where that came from. it's really weird. because i should have taken that other role, you know what i mean? but i had these near ros. i really had these heroes that i knew did certain types of movies. >> rose: who were those heroes? >> oh, god, i mean, you know, i remember watching, of course, james dean as a young child saying... i mean as a 12,
13-year-old, mitchum, of course, de niro, of course, hoffman. i mean, all these guys. i mean endlessly watching their films. monty clift, of course. brando, all these guys. >> rose: they all had something... there is a line there, though, that goes through all of them. i mean, it's part... sort of clear talent, but it's also sort of there was a kind of outlaw about all of them. there's a kind of sort of rebellion about all of them, mitchum clearly. dean clearly. brando. talent, rebellion, outlaw. there is a certain... the people who appeal to you the most have a certain... >> outsider quality. >> rose: yeah. do you think of that. >> i'm a bit of a rogue myself. >> rose: (laughs) i see what you mean. >> you know who the first one was, i think? i think cagney. i think really cagney. i remember watching "public enemy" with scorsese, actually. he was screening it for one of
the films that we did and i said "wow." i mean, even predating brando, this was a guy that came on screen and just... you know, threw all the rules out the window. i mean, "public enemy" was unbelievable. he just lit up the screen and he was violent, terrifying, he was scary. and he was... and he was, i think, the first in that lineage of that sort of actor's studio, even pre-dating brando, i think. >> you mentioned marty. and being... showing films and the idea... within of the things that i hope to do here-- and he and i have talked about this-- is to make more people beneficiary of this man's passion for movies and what he can show you and believes in. >> i have that same passion because i have never, ever, no film historian, no one that works at any museum, no cinema genius that i ever have met that compares passion wis and knowledge wise to martin
scorsese. i mean, the man is... i don't want to use the word obsessed, but he's consumed and lives and breathes cinema everyday of his life and everything is a... in his life is a reference to film. i mean, he looks at life through different eyes. i mean he's emotionally connected to movies. that all comes from his childhood, of course. >> rose: because of asthma or something? he had to sit in a theater and watch movies, it was the only thing he could do. >> it was infused in his d.n.a. unlike anyone i have ever met. so i agree with you on that. i think that... and he has. i mean, he's done some pretty fantastic documentaries "a journey through italian cinema." and he's done that. so it's about people, i think, reaching out and, you know, trying to tap into that knowledge because it's pretty extensive. he's offered it.
>>. >>. >> rose: brad pitt and director david fincher is here. >> tell me she's all right! no! no! >> and the eighth and final rule if this is your first night at fight club, you have to fight. >> rose: and now for something completely different. here's the trailer for "the curious kate of benjamin button." >> promise me. you never know who's coming for you. >> what in god's name? >> he's not a newborn but he's a man well in his 80s well on his way to the grave. >> he died? >> he looks just like my ex-husband. >> my name is benjamin, benjamin button. >> how old are you? >> seven. but i look a lot older. >> god bless you. he's seven.
>> benjamin! this is my granddaughter daisy. >> are you sick? >> they said i was going to die soon, but maybe not. >> you got your sea legs about you, man? >> i think. he gave me the willies. that is not for me. >> benjamin, come on! okay. >> benjamin! where you going? >> off to sea. i'll send you a postcard. >> write me a postcard from everywhere. >> you haven't been with many women, have you? >> well, i'm not dressed. >> oh, you look splendid just as you are. >> anybody doesn't want to go to war, now's the time to say so. >> fellas!
>> queenie, it's a funny thing coming home. >> oh, mercy! >> you realized what's changed. >> benjamin, it's you. >> is somebody looking for me? >> benjamin! what are you doing here? >> i'm here to sweep you off your feet or something. >> this is my life. >> we are almost the same age. we're meeting in the middle. >> i was anying how nothing lasts. what a shame that is. >> some things last. >> good night, daisy. >> good night, benjamin. >> rose: i am pleased to have brad pitt and david fincher here to talk about not only this film but this rather remarkable relationship. tell me what it's about.
tell me who is benjamin button? >> he is a man who's... a child who's born old and ages backwards. so he's experiencing... well, he's experiencing life as we do it, but his body is running backwards. >> rose: so he's looking at life in a very different way. defined by the people that die around him. and defined by what he's learning. >> yeah. he has a very odd upbringing. he's left on the doorstep of a d folks home. and he's taken in. and he's raised and nurtured amongst people who he's... although diminutive, he looks like he's sort of lost the needle in the haystack of the octogenarians. and he experiences life in a very transitory way. i mean, the relationships that he has where people are moving
through his sphere of experience and then they disappear and most of them are buried. most of the people are buried in this movie. but the notion was here's a guy who's going to experience life through that last final chapter where we start to lose friends. >> rose: as he's getting younger all these people are dying. >> yeah. yeah. and not the loneliness of that, but the gal vanizing effect of that. >> rose: and what's the love story? >> well, the love story works as all the people come in and out of his life and he in theirs respectively. we always described it as the people who... you think of all the people in your life who've made dents, who've left an impression along the way. and inevitably... i mean, the thing about love is what follows that is loss, that's the tradeoff. and the greater the love, the
greater the loss. and it's the big inevitable that we all have to deal with in some way, right up to death. and so she is that person who has the biggest impression on him through many stages of his life and he for her. but what i find most... what i appreciate most about it is that there's a real acceptance of this that things must end and a real mature and beautiful take on it. >> rose: is this the kind of movie you like to make? >> i mean, i like the scale and scope of it. i like that it's... certainly it seems in these last years there's been so much focus on our differences. there's been so much... you know it's been a divisive time. and when the truth of it is, we're probably all 95% the same in the sense that we want opportunity and freedom and love
for our family and we don't want to die. and this film focuses on these universal themes that are true for all of us. across the world. and i... i appreciate that. >> rose: is there something about you and kate that wow work well together? >> well, i just have great respect for cate. i mean, any of the guys will tell you she's been elevating our performances for some time. >> rose: (laughs) is that right? if you play with her, you'll be better? >> she's going to up our stocks. >> rose: what does she have? >> she's just got a... well, just, i say just. she's got an incredible grace and elegance to her and a very bright mind. and her interpretation of scenes are... i find quite sharp. and she's got the... also the manners of a trucker. so she's good fun. >> rose: so you can deal with her. so you don't have to be sensitive and... >> oh, no, get right in the gutter with her.
>> rose: you can go right in there w her. i have read somewhere that the better actors the better your performance. that may not be true for everybody but it's true for you. they bring your game to ahere level? >> yeah, sure. a bad tennis analogy, but you're hitting back and forth. >> rose: if they hit the ball back to you well, the chances to bring out your best stroke is better. >> yeah. >> rose: what's the relationship between these two characters, days swhi goes to new york to become a ballet dancer. she comes back because she's in a terrible accident... i don't want to give away too much. >> no. (laughter) >> rose: but she comes back. give me a sense of how you saw this relationship, which is love part and the death part. >> i saw it as just... again,
that... at this point they've both gone on with their lives and that that was okay. whatever shape the thing was going to take was okay. >> they were open to whatever. >> that's the way i saw it. and the fact that they did this reprieve or this... at a different age, this shot together was... was nothing but a gift but there's always that thing that's hacking that.... >> rose: it's going to end. >> yeah, but not to sour anything or make melancholy, it's just back to what we were talking about before. keep those moments, take those moments. >> rose: is one or the otherwiser about this? >> it's usually the woman, isn't it? >> always. >> that's what they tell me. >> rose: i tell you what you have here, you have new orleans. a place that you know and love and care about. >> very much. >> rose: with was that your idea or did that come from eric. >> no, it was originally set in baltimore.
>> rose: fitzgerald. >> before katrina came up, they were offering big tax incentives. and suddenly when that conversation came up, it completely changed the film. it was like another character to the thing, it completely colored. you know, new orleans is... has... is palpable sense of magic and mystery and death and it... placing it there immediately... >> there's this pit tina, the filigree. >> rose: it's everything, color, music, everything. >> and there's so much music. >> rose: and the architecture. >> and the architecture is very specific. now speak specifically to... you know, i had beenrotecting the short story and we have to do what fitzgerald wanted and it was a production calendar that provr proffered this idea through louisiana and we sent a location scout down there mostly
because like "there won't be anything there." but the pictures came back and i was showing them to eric roth and he was like "this is beautiful, this is amazing." >> rose: were you promoting this idea at the time? >> oh, no. this is before the levy break. but i certainly.... >> rose: before your involvement in it at all. >> i'd already spent time there and loved the place. had a great love for it. i was a proponent of the move, certainly. >> rose: how are things going down there? we'll come back to the movie in a second. >> truthfully, it's dismal. to be frank, it's stupid. it's really stupid. >> rose: and who's responsible for being stupid? >> i think there's a... listen, those... people think that katrina was about a hurricane and that's what you get for living on the coast. that was a levee failure, that was a man made problem and thousands of people died and are continuing to di and they really don't have a clear road home. they're given... they're
incentivized to come home by given a big chunk of money but not enough to build safely, which is a key issue because those levees are still a problem. so there was just no clear direction. no one said "we want to move new orleans" and no one said "okay, we're going to bring you back right." no one made a plan either way. >> rose: who should have? >> well, i believe there's a government of responsibility here at all levels. federal,.... >> rose: state and local. >> yeah, absolutely. but, listen, i also have to say that there's some uncredible movements going on and there's a lot of great work going on and there's a great spirit and great fight. but i just think it's... it's still... just absolutely... ridiculous. that we couldn't get that thing together. >> rose: you told me last time you were here that you were thinking about six to nine kids. what's the new number? >> well, we're at six now and we've got the... like the
mcdonald's scoreboard outside our house and we're keeping track that way. >> rose: six and counting. >> yeah. you know, just... it's... i try to talk about it and i always fall short. it's just the greatest endeavor i've taken on. it's the most rewarding and the most painful and the biggest love i've ever had. and we are very fortunate to have the means to also... to widen our home to allow... to give someone else... to give some great kids a great home. and we don't see any need... we don't... can't find a reason why we shouldtop. so it will probably grow. >> rose: (laughs) about a dozen maybe. >> i don't know. probably not. probably not. because at some point we will want to sleep again. >> rose: but you like being a father. >> i love being a father. i do. >> rose: what is it you like most about it? am i kind of like oprah or...
>> this is where i always fail. >> don't ask him about his tattoos. >> rose: i don't know about tattoos. >> i always fail. but it's... i just... i love them so much. it's my one... the only thing now that can hurt me is that, you know, if something happens to them. it's that.... >> rose: >> something will happen to them. they'll become teenagers. >> rose: the most authentic thing in your life? >> and it's the greatest... they teach me so much and i enjoy teaching them and i just... i just... i just find it very rewarding. >> rose: did anything come out of this film that made you think about your life and... i mean, i'm talking about now, you know, time with kids and just the whole idea of what living is about. because you have an opportunity... to do pretty much what you want. >> very much. we start... i had begun filming and it was about... it was around the time when angie's
mother died. and it was just a bit unexpected. and given... going through that moment, that period with angie and her brother and then dealing with the subject matter we're dealing with which is that, you know, that there is an end to all of this and it scares the hell out of me. but it just... we don't... we do not fight. i mean, we'llave our flare-ups but what occurred to me was that man, you know, i care for this person very much, i respect this person, i'm not going to... there will be a day when i will not get to see this person anymore. whether it's some kind of split or whether it's death. and i'm not... i do not want to waste time being angry at this person because that's not my... that's not really how i feel. and since then, i just... it
just evaporates. and... am i making.... >> rose: no, you are, very much. very much. and it's even powerful. what's interesting is about it is some people come to this but they only come to it after something terrible happens to them. i mean, you have gotten to this point in some very interesting evolution. maybe the death of her mother or maybe making a movie that has to do with... or other movies that have to do with life and death and children. >> it's all that. it's all that and i just don't want to... i don't want to miss a moment. >> rose: can you make an argument one way or the other that because now all of this love that sort of part of you now, understanding that you better make the most of it because you never know and you've got the kids which have added so much, does it affect your creativity and your art? >> yeah, i think so. you know, it's a... it's less important and it's more
important simultaneously. it's less important as far as the... any kind of worry or... worry about how you come out of it. it's more important because it's going to mean something to them at some point, hopefully. and i can't help but think they'll see this and see their father at this particular time and how nice a gift that is to be able to guf my kids in some way. so i want to make sure that i do give them something. >> rose: you want them on location with you? >> yeah. by law we keep everyone together. >> rose: a law between you and angie? >> yeah. >> rose: the law is the family does not split because one or the other is going to make a movie? >> no, no. family first. and we'll alternate jobs accordingly so someone is always with the kids. >> rose: you really want to work together again? >> yeah, i have ideas for stuff that i bounce off him and he says.... >> rose: wait, you first call... when you see a project that you think is right for him is to call him? >> not necessarily, if it fits. >> rose: that's what i mean by
right for you. for the piece. >> it's different, i'm looking for author of the piece, which is the director. i come in to fill in my bit. so it's different. i'll throw everything at the wall so you can grab something. i don't think you've... you've always brought everything, haven't you? >> yeah. >> rose: i don't think you've taken anything that i've sent you. (laughter) >> which is not to say that it wasn't good. >> rose: what does that say to you? >> i'm just realizing that. it's more important, too, as you get older just to work with people that you appreciate. >> rose: absolutely. >> because i don't want to waste time. >> rose: at some point you... you reach an age in which you say i don't want to waste any time." >> no. because even i... i think about, well, am i past the halfway point? i'm 44 now. i probably am. do i have a year left?
do i have ten? do i have 20? i've started to think this way so i can only imagine it's going to get worse. >> i can only guarantee you it's going to get worse. can you imagine how i think about that? but you can only hope that, as it did for me, it just gets better and better and better. >> well, that's proven true. if you're following the life you want to lead. i think so. >> rose: and you find the world getting more interesting and more exciting. >> yeah, that i... that thing makes me sad. i do find it so interesting that i'm not going to be here in a hundred years to see the shape of the world. where we are, where we're at, how far we've progressed as a civilization. i would really like to know. >> rose: me too. >> rose: george clooney is here. he is, as you know, a writer, a producer, an actor, a director, an activist and a friend of this program. you know his films "oh, brother, where art thou?"
"good night and good luck" and the "oceans" trilogy. here is some of that work. sfot note i am a man of constant sorrow... ♪ >> it's like seeing someone for the first time, like you're going to be passing them on the street and you look at each other and for a few seconds there's this kind of a recognition. like you both know something and the next moment the person is gone and it's too late to do anything about it. and you always remember it because it was there and you let it go and you think to yourself, what if i had stopped? what if i had said something? what if... because the house always wins. play long enough, you never change the stakes, the house takes you. unless when that perfect hand comes along, you bet big and then you take the house.
>> you'd been practicing that speech haven't you? >> a little bit, did i rush it? >> no, it was good, i liked it. >> we're going with the story that the u.s. air force tried him without one shred of evidence and found him guilty of being a security risk. >> and you who also have not seen the evidence are claiming he's not a security risk. wouldn't you guess that the people who have seen the contents of that envelope might have bet a better idea of what makes someone a danger to his country. >> who? who are these people, sir. >> should it just be you who decides? >> who are the people? don't you know who i am? i'm a fixer. i'm a bag man. i shoplift house wives to bent congressmen and you're boeing to kill me? what do you, karen, lay it on me? you want a carry permit? you want a heads up on an insider trading subpoena? i sold out arthur for 80 grand and a three-year contract and you're going to kill me? >> rose: the lastlip was from
his oscar nominated performance "michael clayton." the latest film is "leather heads." here's a scene from leather heads. >> what position did you play in high school? >> kicker. >> kicker? >> what's the best position? >> math teacher. >> saddle up. >> rose: i am pleased to have him back at this table. "leatherheads." it is described as v.o.a. a view ball comedy. >> that's right. >> rose: what is a screwball comedy? >> it's a comedy where people...
oh,ky rant really say that. screw. >> rose: screw up. >> screw up. this script has been around for a long time and for me it was about... you know, i'd done so many... i was doing all these films and everything that they were sending me was important and heavy and had issues. >> rose: this is right after "syrian that." >> "syriana" and "good night and good luck" and "michael clayton." all of them felt heavy handed and as a director, a filmmaker, i wanted to say "listen, i don't want to be an issues guy, i want to direct and do all kinds of genres" and this one seemed fun and funny and light and very different. new hampshire is you did the casting? >> uh-huh. >> rose: renee you thought was... she was a perfect choice. ren nee is... she's... an immack las actress, she can do anything. but she also has this thing that you can't act.
she can fit in a period piece and most actors feel contemporary. that's something you can't really... you can only cast, you can't get them to act. >> are you in love with period pieces? >> i didn't think i was until somebody brought it up. >> rose: i think karen james "he's decided to work his way through each decade." >> i didn't even think about it and then i realized i probably am. i know i have a better... a better... i think better of the times than they probably were, you know? i'm sure.... >> rose: the good old days might not have been great. >> exactly. but i do have a... there's a fondness in story telling for that kind of... it's easier to place things in the past. >> rose: there's a story that you actually got up one night and decided that the philadelphia story had some application to this. and that that would be the sort of connective tissue for the story you wanted to tell so you hit the typewriter or you hit the computer and 41 pages later you had a new script.
>> you know what it was was first of all i think every romantic comedy basically you start with "the philadelphia story." but what you learned was there were some tricks to it. you had to be very careful with the john character, the other guy. you can't make him just the guy that gets pie in his face. >> rose: this is mr. perfect who turns out to have a flaw. >> but you can't make those flaws lethal. you have to make him a good catch. there has to be a good combination for everybody. and if she ended up with him, that'd be okay. up? is that primarily casting or script? >> both. you can't cast... you can't act likability and john has.... >> rose: you can't act likability. you either have it... >> period. it's that simple. people... and it is a a funny thing about star quality. you can look at somebody and go "that's the best looking person i've ever seen in my life, they're going to be a big star." and they aren't. i don't know why. i've seen people in acting class some of the best actors i've
ever worked with were in an acting class that never made it out of that class. >> rose: how much do you think your sense of humor is part of your appeal? >> i don't know. you know.... >> rose: that you don't take it all too seriously yet you appreciate fame, for example. you said to me or i read once that you said that the last thing anybody wants to hear-- and i couldn't agree with this more-- some celebrity says.... >> rose: whining about fame. oh, fame is so terrible. >> it's a funny thing. even when there were things that are a drag-- and there are things that are a drag, you can't complain about them because i literally... i cut tobacco for a living and i sold shoes in a department store. >> rose: in north carolina we call that priming tobacco. >> priming tobacco. cutting, topping, chopping. and the last thing i would have wanted to do was turn on the t and see someone who's wealthy living in a house in italy talking about how miserable their life is. >> rose: (laughs) exactly. >> i would have snapped. >> rose: oh, fame is awful, i'm
working so hard and people bother me all the time and i can't go anywhere. >> terrible. >> rose: fine, we'll take it away from you. >> backpacking my way through the four seasons in france. >> rose: (laughs) all right, where is the director in this scene? >> unfortunately, he's getting punched in the face. >> rose: what do you do? you sort of set the scene up and then you know where your marker is. >> well, you prepare months and months in advance. literally, you block everything out, you draw out little cartoons, basically, of every single shot so that you know... so that you can plan it out. you can put the camera where you want. and then you've got to get into the scene and try to pretend that you're not paying attention to the other actors' performance as opposed to just... as an actor you're supposed to just get in it. if it's you and i we would just act it out and hopefully not me judging you or have the camera getting in too close. >> rose: you can't play two roles at the same time. >> you have to let go of one and
look at a monitor. i was thinking about how someone likeor son wells would have done it without play back. >> so he doesn't know what he just did. >> just makes him even more brilliant. >> rose: when did you first start thinking about being a director? >> you know, it was when i was doing... i was back years and years ago doing sitcoms and a big part of doing a sitcom-- which is fun-- is that all the actors participate in the writing. and they all sort of fix problems in the script and they sit around the table and they get up and they sort of work it out and you block it. and in sitcoms you do three and maybe even sometimes four days of rehearsal and you're working with a director like you dough in theater. and from that point on i always felt like it would be fun to be able to come up with the ideas and have a little more control. >> rose: did you do any episodes of "e.r."? >> none at all. the first thing i directed was "confessions." >> rose: it was a good movie, didn't do that well, but it was
a great movie. >> i'm really proud of the film. >> rose: what's the first thing you have learned? who has helped you or what helps you get better? >> well, you know, i don't know that you get better, i think you get.... >> rose: you don't know that you get better? >> i don't know that youo. i think that you get... if you look at the history of people who make films, they have cycles in their career with they make great films and cycles where they don't. >> rose: and not necessarily the last film they make. >> and the last film they make is usually not the best film. in fact, it would be very hard pressed to find any director who at the end of their career is making film it is way they are in the beginning. >> rose: clint eastwood. >> clint eastwood, sure, absolutely. >> rose: here he's the exception. >> but you could find a lot of directors that they say that doesn't necessarily work with. so your trick i feel liking is to keep working. to continually keep looking. and be interested in things. as long as you're interested in them and somebody gives you the money to do it, then do it.
and the minute that they don't, you go away. >> rose: tell me five directors... pick one that you've never met that you would always... that you wish you could now have a conversation about directing with. would it be somebody like billy wilder? would it be someone like... billy wilder would be great for this one. >> billy wilder would be great for this. here's a funny one, george stevens. because, you know, you watch "the more the merrier" before the war, the stuff he shot before the war, some of the best romantic comedies you'll ever see in your life. then he goes off and he shoots footage for the war and he comes back.... >> rose: in color. >> in color. i saw amazing, amazing footage. and then he comes back and it's "a place in the sun" and "giant" and things like that. i this that might be... i'd like to talk to a director that was that good at handling... joel anden this than can do do that. >> rose: now there's somebody who just made that best movie.
>> every film they make i love. >> rose: it seems to get better. >> i think absolute spli. >> they're still very young. but they'll make one... >> well, you know, certainly they'll make a movie that's not as good as "no country for old men." >> rose: well, i've just made a film with them. >> rose: what did you make? >> it's called "burn after reading" with joel and ethan. it's francis mcdormand and brad pitt and tilda swinton. >> rose: brad pitt? >> john malkovich. it's a funny, fun cast. >> rose: when do you direct again? >> probably the beginning of this next year, the end of this year, the beginning of the year. >> rose: what's it going to be? >> there's a play that's almost that's being written, it's almost finished that it's just so beautifully written about... it's sort of about an election process. it feels like "the candidate" a little bit. >> rose: you're "the candidate"
or are you just going to direct? >> i'm going to direct one. i just want to stay out of it. >> rose: well "quiz show" you did both, didn't you? >> "confessions" you mean? >> rose: what did you direct after "confessions." >> "good night and good luck." >> rose: >> i did a television show called unscript and it's about actors and what they really go through in trying to get a job. not the stuff you see on t.v., but the actual sort of process and it was mostly improvised with these wonderful actors and we just had digital cameras and we shot it and it was so exciting to be...tor do the things that were completely unstructured that that informed how to shoot "good night and good luck. "so it's always a i don't know stant movement forward. >> rose: but when you're on the set as an actor whether it's michael clayton, are you thinking about the director and watching the director and are you saying... >> oh, yeah.
i watch... the other night i was watching the film "la vie enrose" she won the academy award for it. and i saw a couple of things that the guy did in the movie and i was like "that's a really good move." you see hmm and you think "that's a good thing to pay attention to" or to steal, i think. but you know i don't spend time in my trailer on the set. >> rose: why am i not surprised? (laughs) >> because i try to stay out of trailers. but, you know, i really like sets and when you're struggling as an actor, to get to a place where you can actually work on a set, to get jobs, then the first thing you do is you.... >> rose: do go into a trailer. >> sets are exciting to me. so i'd stay on sets and watch and be around soderbergh and the cohens and the people when they're making films and that's really fun.